In the excerpt from Sheryl Sandberg’s new book [“Why I Want Women to Lean In”], she addresses a very poignant issue for women in America today: do you have a career or do you have a family? As a college student, what resonated with me is that college-aged women are looking forward and anticipating this choice rather than focusing on their career goals. I have to absolutely agree that there are many aspects of our cultural makeup that assign the family-rearing responsibilities to women and discourage investment in a career. What I would add to this argument though is that the underlying issue present in this country today is the maternity leave system.
The U.S. allots just 12 weeks of unpaid maternity leave for men and women. The vast majority of other developed countries provide close to double this with pay, many offering up to a year. The United States government has little to no interest in supporting family life. Parents, especially women, need to choose between spending time with their children in the most crucial stages of their development and working to support their families. As a result, it’s arguable that many children grow up in poorer living conditions because their families are bringing in less income or they remember their nannies as their primary caregivers, breeding arguably unstable individuals.
Ashley Eiffert, Bellingham